Mistakes leave crowded field at Hope Classic
Associated Press
Monday, January 25, 2010

LA QUINTA, Calif. --- Bubba Watson, Alex Prugh and Joe Ogilvie all had late chances to create a little separation atop the Bob Hope Classic field Sunday. All three made mistakes better suited to their amateur playing partners.

And that left a leaderboard crowded with low-profile pros seeking their first career victories in today's finale.

Watson double-bogeyed the final hole in the fourth round, dropping him back into a tie with PGA Tour rookie Prugh at 23-under 265. Prugh missed a three-foot putt to bogey his final hole, while Ogilvie sat two strokes back after a double bogey on his 17th.

"You can't have double bogeys and win the Hope," Ogilvie said.

Actually, you probably can this year.

The famed tournament features none of the PGA Tour's top 35 players, creating golden opportunities for the top four players heading into the final round at the Arnold Palmer Private course at PGA West.

After knocking his second shot into the water and then missing a six-foot putt on the par-4 18th, Watson finished with 3-under 69 to match Prugh (70) at 23-under 265.

Bill Haas and Tim Clark were a stroke back after 66s, Ogilvie (68) followed at 21-under, and Mike Weir was in a group another stroke behind after his fourth 67 in a row.

Watson, Prugh, Haas and South Africa's Clark have never won on the PGA Tour, while Ogilvie has just one win.

"The emotions, they're flowing, they're going up and down out there," said Haas, whose father, Jay, won the Hope Classic in 1988. "If there's good weather (today), it's going to take a 66 to have a chance. I don't even know if that will win tomorrow."

Watson was among the last off the courses, and the long-driving pro could have put himself in prime position for the $900,000 winner's share of the $5 million purse at the four-course event, which was pushed back a day after rain washed out play Thursday.

Instead, he failed to overpower the relatively easy Nicklaus Private course. Watson, whose wife played in the pro-am event, still made six birdies before his disappointing finish.

"Tomorrow is going to be a tough day no matter if I had the lead, was tied for the lead, or one back, or five back," said Watson, who plans to buy a replica of the General Lee car from The Dukes of Hazzard if he wins. "Tomorrow is going to be a fun day. This is what we live for. The more chances I get to win, maybe I'll get one to luckily fall in and win one."

Prugh, the 25-year-old former University of Washington star making his third PGA Tour start, missed an easy putt to bogey his final hole on the SilverRock course, finishing another self-described unremarkable round. He still insists the Hope Classic doesn't feel much more stressful than events on the Nationwide Tour, where he won the New Zealand Open last year.

"The way things were going the first three days, where the scores were going, I definitely didn't think 2-under would keep me in it," said Prugh, who opened the Hope Classic 64-66-65. "It's definitely what I expected to feel. I feel like I've been in this situation before."

Ogilvie appeared the angriest at himself after he double-bogeyed the 17th at La Quinta.

"My caddie was about 30 yards off," said Ogilvie, who hadn't made a bogey since early in the second round. "I had uncertainty on the tee, and it's a mistake to hit driver when you're not confident standing there."

TAYLOR MOVES UP

- Evans resident Vaughn Taylor shot 65 on the SilverRock Course to finish tied for 17th overall at 17-under-par 271 heading into the final round.

- Augusta native Charles Howell fell on the leaderboard after he shot 71 on the SilverRock Course and is 14-under.

- Former Louisville, Ga., resident Brian Gay shot 68 on the La Quinta Course and is tied with Howell at 14-under.

- Swainsboro, Ga., resident Blake Adams shot 70 on the La Quinta Course to reach 7-under-par 281. He did not qualify for the final round.

-- From staff reports

From the Monday, January 25, 2010 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
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